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Archive for May, 2008

Anatomy of a toilet

So, as much as I try to be independent and stuff, there is always something I wish I could rent-a-dude for…. this time around… my toilet. Eww. Toilets gross me out in general for obvious reasons.

The other day I came home and noticed it wouldn’t flush. At first, I thought, ‘Hmm..maybe it’s taking a nap, and will be as good as new if I just leave it alone.’

Ya, obviously that’s some wishful thinking. So I open the tank and find that the lever thingy is broken and needs to be replaced. I come up with the brilliant idea that maybe electrical tape will hold it for now. Yep. I’m no plumber, you know. I can build an entire bedroom set from scratch, but toilets, nah. So then I wonder if maybe since the lever thingy is plastic, and managed to come of with a pretty clean break, I could super glue it temporarily. Seriously. Stop laughing at me. Really. Stop.

So picture this. I’m squirting the super glue onto the plastic lever thingy, not realizing that it was dripping happily down my fingers. It took some tearing to get my fingers unstuck from the lever, but then I noticed the glue had dried nicely all over my hand… fantastic. I rack my brain trying to think of who I can convince to come and have fun with my toilet. Then, a friend reminds me of that wonderful thing called….

Wait for it……

The internet. Duh. To my own defense, I’ve been so drained from work lately that my brain goes on vacation by the time I get home. Really, it does.

So I google, ‘get super glue off my hand’ and for future reference (that is, if you’re brain ever goes on vacation) nail polish remover works wonders for super glue. Then I google, ‘fix my toilet lever thingy’ and ta-dah! a wonderful little YouTube video walks me through every step. Unfortunately this still means I have to do it myself, but at least I know I don’t have to rent-a-dude, unless, that is, if I want to.

So even with all of this information, I still rise as the procrastination champion (mainly because my foot hurts too much to get the hardware store), since my toilet still doesn’t have a new lever thingy, but instead, a string tied to a hanger. For real, stop pointing and laughing, or I’ll punish you by making you fix my toilet.

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For serious?

I’m having one of those Monday’s. Well… one of those months… er… couple months? Right. You know, the kind where every little thing makes your blood boil? Yep. Those kind of days are fan-freaking-tastic.

Sometimes I’m pretty impressed with my ability not to freak out on a complete stranger. Mostly the urge to freak is for good reason though, I swear. Really. Most of the time.

For instance, take today’s subway ride. I got a pretty sweet standing spot, pole and all. Behind me stood Miss Thang with her designer everything (fine by me) and her token blue Tiffany’s paper bag (that I’m assuming holds her lunch). People do that you know. I see the same people carry the same <fill in the blank> paper/plastic bag to work everyday and by all means, all the power to you. Some bags are built to last a nuclear explosion, and that’s just damn wonderful, but all I ask is that you keep them to yourself.

So Miss Thang is standing there, reading and swinging her Token Tiffany back and forth, coincidentally right against my bare leg, over and… over…. and over…. and over… (it’s not like she didn’t know…I mean, come on). So, I take the initiative and move over slightly (only so much moving room during rush hour). Of course I make sure I manage a to shoot her one of those looks that says,

‘If you touch my leg again with your stupid bag, I’ll snatch that sucker and have my way with it. For serious.’

So, like I said, I moved over. Then she moves over. Again with the bag. And again and again and again.

So, fine. You want to play this game, huh?

I just ‘happen’ to decide it’s time for me to face the other direction, and just ‘happen’ to pivot and swing my computer and purse right into the knee cap of Miss Thang. Oops. I was really aiming for the Token Tiffany. Really, I swear. I would have found much more pleasure in an ‘accidental’ rip of the bag instead of a jolt in the knee cap (so, that doesn’t make me as horrible of a person, right?) Damn. Maybe next time.

To pay me back for my wrongful ways, Karma got on the next stop and rubbed her alcohol-stenched, dirt-drenched massive backpack repeatedly on my freshly Febreezed cute little blazer. Awesome.

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So, yesterday as I waited to get shmooshed and violated on the crowded rush hour streetcar, a group of tourists walked by and made an interesting comment. I assumed that they were American (not that there’s anything wrong with that), mainly from their accents and alpha beta something or other matching hoodies – and from the comment of course, which was,

‘How about dim sum? You know, it’s a Canadian specialty and stuff like that.’

This made me chuckle a bit, because you know, I’m no dim sum connoisseur, but I always thought it was an Asian specialty.

Anyhoo, this made me think of all the funny things I’ve heard from random tourists throughout my life, and I’ve heard many, especially growing up Niagara Falls. Being a border town and all, many of the comments came from our neighbours below, but first to be politically correct and whatnot, I’m not generalizing etc etc, most are great people yadda yadda, and most of my experiences have been pleasant…but I’m just repeating what I’ve heard.

So here are some timbits:

Okay, first off, the most popular vote goes to….

‘What time do they turn off the falls?’

Seriously. After then millionth time we heard this one, we started making up answers.

‘Oh!!! You’re going to miss it!! Hurry up, 10pm SHARP. Go, go, go! You better make it quick, because right after they turn off the falls, they roll up the sidewalks.’

One middle aged woman asked me once,

‘Why there are so many Ontario license plates?’

I said, ‘Because you are in Ontario.’

She said, ‘Well, I thought I was in Niagara Falls.’

I said, ‘You are. Niagara Falls….Ontario.’

She said, ‘Well what’s Ontario?’

I said, ‘It’s the province that you are standing in.’

She said, ‘What’s a province?’

I said, ‘Okay, here’s your history lesson: Think about it this way – New York, New York – Niagara Falls, Ontario. New York – state. Ontario – province.’

She said, ‘Ya so. Why are there so many Ontario license plates???’

You get the picture on this one. I could continue, but really, what’s the point?

It always used to make me laugh when people would drive over the bridge into Canada in the dead of our 35 degree Celsius plus summer with skis on the roofs of their cars. They were always disappointed when they realized that, no, we don’t live in igloos and no, we don’t use snow shoes and dog sleds as our main method of transportation, and that in fact, the weather here is very similar to most of theirs (which obviously they didn’t notice while sitting on the other side of the bridge).

Another big one I got a lot was whether the prices where in American or Canadian. I mean, hello?! Seriously. If you go to Italy, are the prices in Lira (or now the Euro), or some other currency. Jesus. Some people would actually get angry when their change back was in Canadian, cuz you know, we keep all of the currencies just in case.

When I was just recently in Montreal, I met a super nice American man. He asked me where I was born. I told him Niagara Falls. He said, ‘Ohhh so you’re American then!!! Nice!’

I was like, ‘Nooo, Niagara Falls Ontario….Canada.’

He was shocked that there was also a Niagara Falls in Canada, and continued to explain how he didn’t even know that the border separated us at that point. Let me point out that this man worked for AirCanada, and had been a proclaimed army brat growing up, which made it even more ironic that he didn’t know where the American/Canadian border was.

Once I worked in a restaurant right by the falls, and a man asked me what time the sun set. It was summer, and I said, ‘Well, really I’m working when the sun sets, but I imagine it’s around 8pm-ish.’

Then he asked what time zone we were in. I told him Eastern Standard time, and asked, ‘Where are you from?’ He said Buffalo. I was like, ‘DUDE, we can practically see Buffalo from here, are you serious?!’ Yes, in fact, he was.

One summer I worked at Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake (yes, I’m a bit of a job whore). This job was pretty amazing. All I had to do was dress up, act like I was in 1812, and play piano for the guests. Rock on. Anyhoo, so this person asks me if the grass grew in 1812. I laughed because, well, you know, come on! But to my surprise he was serious. I told him the grass started to grow the day he was born.

At one point I worked in a call centre and dealt with a Gas & Electric company, which will remain unnamed. Oh boy, did I ever get some doozies there.

Once a man called in because he was pretty sure he had a gas leak. So, he called me, and told me he was standing in front of his furnace, with his lighter (lit of course), looking for the leak.

One time a livid woman called in, pissed off that she had made an appointment for a gas/electric hook up at her trailer. She told me no one showed up, and that she deserves a credit since she wasted her day. I took a look at the comments from the technician and asked her to confirm her lot number. She did, and I told her why they were not able to hook up her essentials.

Wait for it…..

Wait for it……

‘Ma’am, there was no trailer in your lot. The lot was empty.’

‘Well ya,’ she said, ‘I have it in another park.. so what the hell? Where’s my credit and where’s my gas/electric.’

It was really, really, really hard for me not to be super sarcastic on this one.

I asked her how in the world she thought that someone could hook up her gas/electric to an invisible trailer. She didn’t get it. She said that they could still ‘cut it on’ for her. I tried to explain to her that you can’t just ‘cut on’ a gas pipe that’s not connected to anything, because you know, as soon as someone lights a match the entire park would blow up. She still didn’t get it.

So ya, I could go on, and on, and on…. but that would probably take me all day.

Oh, the joys of working in a tourist town, where your sarcasm skills are tested to the max.

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Is someone making fajitas?

Right. So to continue on with karma kicking my butt….

My day was going pretty well yesterday until lunch. I was starving, and by that I mean ravished. My stomach grumbles could probably be heard in the nearby offices. So my Scottish co-worker and I head to the Pickle Barrel. I already have huge issues with this restaurant, as in, I hate it. But, sometimes The Scot and I go there for $4.99 massive ice cream sundaes for lunch. I’m convinced that’s the only thing that place is good for.

So, I’m starving and order fajitas. Yum… or so I thought. I mean, come on people, how on earth do you screw up fajitas! It must be the easiest thing to make. So the waiter delivers my food, and I’m thinking, ‘what’s that smell?’ Oh. Burnt. That’s it. The beef was burnt to a crisp, I mean, totally black and the consistency of a goddamn hockey puck. Not to mention the fact that there was no fajita spice and the veggies were raw. Seriously people. What the hell? Thankfully the waiter was nice and I didn’t pay. But I also didn’t eat. Nice. Instead I funneled another coffee to get me through the rest of my busy day. So of course when I got home I was at that point where I had lost all faith in food in general, and was so indecisive that I ordered in food that was in no way satisfying. So fine, maybe today would be better, or so I thought.

So this morning I’m rushing around getting ready, and notice my skirt is a little wrinkled. I started to iron, and got lost in some pre-coffee morning thoughts. Then I wonder, again, ‘what’s that smell?’ and ‘what’s that sizzling noise?‘Is someone making fajitas?!’ Hmmmm. That would be my hand, burning, underneath nice piping hot iron. I’m pretty sure I woke up my whole building as I screamed every swear word that came to mind. Great. So now I’m late, burnt, hungry, and still pre-coffee.

I grab my trusty Mp3, along with the rest of my junk, and head to the bus stop. I just miss the bus, of course, and wait for what seems like forever, but in reality was probably only 5 minutes. As I was waiting I had my Mp3 blasting and read the free Metro paper. I saw the bus coming, stepped forward, and wondered what the hell that sharp pain in my foot was. An exceptionally large man on a scooter chair thingy had run over my foot (the bad one of course, because, you know, I could only be so lucky for it to be the good foot). Instead of backing up, dude stays on top of my foot and gives me a nasty look. I apologized over and over, because I really didn’t look both ways before I crossed the sidewalk. He didn’t move. He told me to,”Get that shit out of my ears, and maybe then I would know if he was coming.’

I told him, ‘No, I will not take that shit out of my ears, and it was an accident, I apologized like eight times, I have nothing else to say, I am pre-coffee, burnt, sore and late, so please let me get on the bus now, or there will be some serious repercussions.’

He busted out of there like a scooter man on the run from the law.

I had a great time dealing with Staples print and copy centre today as well. What a bunch of idiots. Where do they find these people? I ordered online… it was quite the simple order, 1000 flyers, 1000 brochures. Not necessarily rocket science, but I guess to some people, it quite possibly is rocket science. I spent a large majority of my time on the phone (on hold and talking to clueless reps). No one could find the order, or knew about it, and then they did, and then they didn’t, and then they did, and then they didn’t, did, didn’t, did, didn’t…. get the picture? Blah. I mean, the last thing you should do is basically admit that you are an idiot. Idiots.

So back on the subway I go, with a hand full of massive iron burn blisters, and a throbbing foot. Of course my trusty piece of shit Mp3 player dies on me – but I leave the headphones in my ears anyways, with the hopes of it magically turning on. The seat next to me opens up, and a middle aged man plops down beside me. I could see him coming before he sat down, and could tell he wasn’t all there mentally. So as I expected, buddy starts chatting it up with me. I chat back nicely, because, well, somewhere deep down, I actually AM a nice person. He tells me his name and asks me mine. Oh boy. ‘WOW, WHAT A NAME!!!’ he screamed. He screamed my name again, and told me he was going home to write it down over and over again, so that he doesn’t forget it. Although I am aware he is totally harmless, still, that’s slightly creepy. Thankfully my stop was next, I told him it was a pleasure to meet him, and head to the doors. He screamed, ‘WOW, BYEEEEEE! BYEEEEEEEEEE!’ and then continued to scream my name over and over. Surprisingly, that is the only thing that has made me laugh all day.

On a positive note, on Monday I put together and entire Ikea bedroom by myself and am quite impressed. Seriously. Have you seen some of their instructions?

So, in closing, I am praying to the karma gods that tomorrow will be a good day. Please…. pllllleeeaaassseee. I promise to hold doors for people, say nice things, think happy thoughts, and so on and so forth. Really, I promise.

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